Mercury resistance is found in many genera of bacteria. Common amongst enterobacteria are transposons related to Tn21, which is both mercuric ion- and streptomycin-/spectinomycin-and sulphonamide-resistant. Other Tn21-related transposons often have different antibiotic resistances compared with Tn21, but share many non-antibiotic-resistance genes with it. In this article we discuss possible mechanisms for the evolution of Tn21 and related genetic elements.

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